Joe Biden’s Opposition to Busing School Children and Boston [OPINION]
Joe Biden was a vocal opponent of the forced racial integration of America's public schools when he was a U.S. Senator from Delaware.
The Massachusetts presidential primary is less than a year away. Joe Biden is running for the nomination of his party and that means his record as a senator is going to be examined closely by his opponents and the media.
The city of Boston was torn apart over busing in the 1970s. Back then, being an opponent of busing was a good political position for many white politicians in the Democratic Party. The late liberal congressman Joe Moakley of South Boston lost the 1970 primary for Congress to Louise Day Hicks, "the anti-busing chairwoman of the Boston School Committee, who won the general election." He had to run as an independent two years later against Hicks to win his first term in Washington.
Biden joined a bipartisan group of senators to fight against busing. His partnership with Republican Senators Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond on busing is being used against him by activists on the left.
Jacobin Magazine has been doing a series on Joe Biden's career. The always interesting and avowed socialist publication states:
"In 1975, he put forward an anti-busing provision that barred the Department of Health, Education and Welfare from using federal funds “to assign students or teachers by race,” broad language that actually barred the department from taking anti-segregation actions beyond just busing.
The amendment was meant to be a “softer” alternative to one put forward by hall-of-fame racist and Biden friend Jesse Helms, a version Biden had actually initially supported."
The Massachusetts Democratic Party is not the same party today that elected anti-busing Congresswoman Hicks over liberal Joe Moakley back then.
The sum of Joe Biden's career isn't his position decades ago to oppose forced busing, but it is going to complicate his attempt to win the nomination. Americans of color are the most loyal members of the coalition that makes up the current Democratic Party. Obviously, President Obama didn't select a racist to serve as his vice president, but Biden needs to get his message on this matter out before he loses control of the issue.
And what candidate will attempt to use this issue against Biden in Massachusetts and New Hampshire?
Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.